Benecol® - Fast and sustained efficacy in cholesterol reduction

- THIS CONTENT IS FOR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS ONLY  -

Benecol® - Fast and sustained efficacy in cholesterol reduction

Benecol® is a family of cholesterol lowering functional foods and dietary supplements which contain a unique ingredient, Plant stanol ester. Including Benecol products with Plant stanol ester in a cholesterol-lowering diet will help your patients to lower their LDL cholesterol by an average of 10%. This reduction is in addition to what can be achieved with other dietary changes and medication.

High cholesterol is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Its prevalence is high worldwide. In high-income countries, over 50% of the population over the age of 25 has elevated cholesterol levels1. Lifestyle and dietary changes are always the first step in the prevention of CVD and should be continued also alongside any medication e.g.2.

One of the easiest dietary ways of lowering cholesterol is to start using Benecol® products, cholesterol-lowering functional foods and food supplements with added Plant stanol ester. Plant stanol ester inhibits cholesterol absorption in the small intestine. Daily intake of 1.5-3.0 grams of plant stanols lowers LDL cholesterol on an average of 7-12.5%3 and sustains the achieved reduction as long as the products are used daily.

1. WHO, Global Health Observatory (GHO) http://www.who.int/gho/ncd/risk_factors/cholesterol_text/en/ 2. International Atherosclerosis Society. Global recommendations for the management of dyslipidemia, 2013. 3. EFSA Journal 10 (5), 2692, 2012.

Plant stanol ester - The active ingredient in Benecol®

Plant stanols are plant-based compounds naturally found in foods. Most common dietary sources of plant stanols are grain products.1,2 The daily intake of plant stanols through a normal diet is about 20-30 mg/d.3,4 If consumed in amounts of 1.5 to 3 g/d, plant stanols can effectively lower cholesterol.

Plant stanols are added to Benecol® foods as Plant stanol ester which is formed when plant stanols are esterified with vegetable oil fatty acids. Plant stanol ester is easily added to food products without compromising taste, and it ensures that the product lowers cholesterol effectively.5

1. Piironen et al. J Food Compos Anal 2000 2. Piironen et al. Cereal Chem 2002 3. Phillips et al. Food Chem 1999 4. Valsta et al. Br J Nutr 2004. 5. Mierttinen et al. N Engl J Med 1995

How Benecol® products lower cholesterol

Plant stanol ester lowers blood total and LDL cholesterol by partly inhibiting the absorption of cholesterol in the small intestine. HDL cholesterol concentration is not affected, however.

As soon as Plant stanol ester reaches the small intestine, it is rapidly hydrolyzed to free plant stanols and fatty acids.1 The free plant stanols can then inhibit cholesterol absorption: due to the structural similarity of plant stanols and cholesterol  they prevent cholesterol from being taken up by mixed micelles, which is otherwise a necessary part of cholesterol absorption. . Plant stanols reduce the absorption of both dietary and biliary cholesterol.2 Daily intake of 2 grams of plant stanols reduces cholesterol absorption by approximately 40–50%.2,3

The fatty acid part of Plant stanol ester is absorbed into the body in the same way as other dietary fatty acids are, whereas plant stanols are virtually unabsorbable.

1. Nissinen et al. Am J Physiol: Gastrointest Liver Physiol 2002 2. Gylling et al. Circulation 1997 3. Miettinen et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2000

Mechanism of Action

Plant stanol ester partly inhibits cholesterol absorption in the small intestine.

Daily consumption together with meals

The optimal cholesterol lowering effect is achieved when Benecol® products are used sufficiently every day together with meals. Daily use is encouraged, since the cholesterol-lowering effect of plant stanols is quickly lost once its use is stopped.1 For best efficacy, Plant stanol ester should be consumed together with a meal. Food mass is needed to properly begin digestive processes, such as the release of bile with biliary cholesterol, that are necessary for plant stanol to work.

Taking the daily dose of plant stanol in one dose with the main meal is as effective for lowering serum LDL-cholesterol concentrations as dividing the same dose over several meals.2

1. Miettinen et al. N Engl J Med 1995 2. Plat Eur J Clin Nutr 2000

Guiding patients in optimal use

For optimal cholesterol-lowering effect, Benecol® products should be consumed:

  • In sufficient amount (1.5-3 grams of plant stanol/d in the form of Plant stanol ester)
  • Daily
  • Together with a meal

For locally available Benecol® product selection, please visit your country's Benecol website.

Benecol® - A safe dietary way to reduce cholesterol

The consumption of Plant stanol ester is safe and well-tolerated. This has been shown in specific safety tests, in more than 70 published clinical studies and 20 years of safe Benecol® products use globally. Plant stanols are practically unabsorbed, and are effectively excreted from the body.1 Levels of plant stanols in the blood remain very low even after continuous use of foods with added Plant stanol ester.2

Plant stanol ester has been evaluated and declared safe by a number of food authorities, including the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA. Plant stanol ester has Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status3, and Benecol® products are among the very few foods that are allowed to make health claims of reduced risk factor of a disease in the EU as well as in the USA.

1. Lütjohann et al. J Lipid Res 1993 2. Hallikainen et al. Eur J Clin Nutr 2000 3. GRAS document 4. Official Journal of the European Union L 277/3-12, 2009 5. FDA Labelling